Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Real Mom

So I had the following conversation with my 8-year-old niece C the other day.  She sprung it on me out of the blue, as kids seem to do.  It was at the supper table with other family members listening.

Niece:  Do you think your kids will know that you're not their real mom?

Me (I said everything gently):  But I will be their real mom.

Niece:  No, like their real mom.

Me (extending my arm to her):  Pinch me.  I am real.  I will be their real mom.

Niece (brief pause while she thinks hard):  No, will they know you're not the one who gave birth to them!

Me:  Yes, they will know.  I'll be their real mom, and they will know that they have a birth mom, and hopefully they will even know her.

So?  How do you think I handled it?  I'd especially like the opinions of other people in the adoptive world.  This is not the first time she's sprung a conversation like this on me, and somehow I don't think it'll be the last.


  1. I love the way you said "Pinch me. I am real." I never would have thought of something like that so quickly. I hope she continues to pepper you with questions, for her own sake (she'll be your biggest advocate in the years to come if you remain up front with her now) and for your sake so you'll have plenty of practice lobbying those silly questions back at well meaning strangers. Keep up the fast thinking - you're doing great!

    1. Thank you! I think I read the "pinch me" idea on an adoptive mother's blog a while back - I totally don't know whose or when - and filed it away in the back of my mind to use if necessary!

  2. Your story brought tears to my eyes. It's this innocence that made the conversation so sweet. I think you were perfect. You explained it perfectly at age appropriate level. You are going tO make a great real mom!

    1. You're going to bring ME to tears! Thank you for being so kind.

  3. Love the way you handled it! It is so difficult for people who have never been exposed to adoption to understand what a "real" mom is. I think what you did, especially considering her age, was perfect. I had a repeated conversation with a co-worker like this. I finally said to her (as loving as I could), "Who bathes her? Me. Who feeds her? Me. Who takes her to the doctor? Me. Who does she call for in the middle of the night? Me. How more "REAL" could I get? Giving birth is not the only way to become a mother. Loving and raising a child makes you a real mother." She has shown nothing but respect for my children and has never questioned our relationship again. :)


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